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To answer that question, it would help to know what you plan on fishing for. It makes a big diffrence. Kind of like the difference in freshwater between technical trout fishing and pulling largemouth bass out of the lilly pads (if you understand my feeble analogy).

Keith
 

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Hey Surfin,
The 8 wt is a good rod for what you are fishing for. Intermediate line is probably the best allround saltwater line if you can only have one. Perhaps if you will be fishing for reds in the shallow marshes and grass, you would do better with a floating line. When using sinking lines such as the Interm., a short leader is best (4 ft or so). That keeps the fly at the same level as the line whereas longer leaders tend to have the fly ride up higher in the water column (unless they are heavily weighted).

As far as leader connections, you will find a variety of opinions. Many use the nail knot as you have described and swear by it. I have unfortunately had nail knots pull off (and they were tied by the guide not me), and I have had ones I tied pull the coating off the line. I follow Lefty Kreh's suggestion and whip loops in the end of my saltwater lines (sligthly bulkier than the nail knot) and then attach my leaders by loop-to-loop connections. I have not had one pull off.

On the but section of my leader I tie a perfection loop and loop it to the flyline. You should pick a butt section that is similar in stiffness to the flyline. For 8 wt probably 30# test will do. Make the butt section about 2.5-3 ft long. Connect your tippet to this either with a blood knot, surgeons knot, or tie another perfection loop in the end of the butt section and connect the tippet with a loop to loop connection.

As far a strength of the tippet, again it is more the stiffness you are looking for. You will be able to cast heavier and bulkier flies with a stiffer tippet. I find that for most applications 20# tippet works well for me.

Fluorocarbon is a good choice for subsurface. When fishing topwater with floating line, I find that the fluorocarbon tends to pull the front of the fly down so that it dives more and gurgles/pops less than I would like.

For the reds and specks no special attention is necessary, but if you are targeting bluefish you might consider adding some wire on the tip of your leader. For the small ones you will get away without it most of the time but for larger ones you will lose alot of flies if you don't.

Hope this long winded answer is helpful.
Keith
 
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